Skillshare provides more than 25,000 online courses to 5 million users, with many classes being taught by experts or celebrities. New members have access to a free trial while those who upgrade to Premium membership can get 30% off their first year. But is it worth the price? And how does it compare to competitors such as Masterclass, Udemy, and even YouTube? To help you work out whether it’s worth the investment, read on for my Skillshare review.
This post includes affiliate links. This means if you sign up to Skillshare after clicking a link in this blog post, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
How much does Skillshare cost?
When I signed up, the options available to me were:
£5.99/month (£71.88 billed annually)
£14/month (billed monthly)
or £4.19/month (£50.32 billed monthly/£71.88 per year after that) with the help of the temporary 30% off annual Skillshare membership offer.
I decided to commit to a full year of Premium so I could get 30% off and pay the equivalent of just £4.19 a month.
Is Skillshare Premium worth it?
If you read this Skillshare review in full and feel unsure whether you’ll make the most of the platform, committing to a full year of Premium just to save 30% might work out counterproductive. It may be worth dipping your toes in the water with the £14/month plan and cancelling after one month if it’s not been as valuable as you’d hoped.
If you want to do the free trial but you’re not sure if you’ll stick around, please be careful when selecting which plan you’d like to start once your trial is up. If you end up making good use of the platform, paying annually is much more cost-effective than paying monthly. It’s less than half the price! But if you select annual billing only to be disappointed with the trial, you need to make sure you cancel in time. Missing the deadline will see you being charged £71.88 for the whole year! Whereas if you forget to cancel the free trial and you originally chose to be billed monthly, you’ll only be lose £14 if you promptly cancel after that.
Thankfully, it is possible to get a refund on your annual Premium Membership providing you contact Skillshare within 7 days of the charge being processed. More info below👇
Can I get a refund for my Premium Membership payment?
Yes, providing you’ve paid for annual membership rather than monthly membership. Here’s what the website has to say: “Skillshare offers refunds for annual Premium membership payments if you contact us within 7 days after the charge has been processed. We follow these refund policies:
- We only allow one refund per customer.
- We don’t offer refunds for annual memberships after 7 days of the charge.
- We don’t offer refunds for monthly memberships.”
It can take up to 14 business days for a refund to appear on the original form of payment.
How long does the Skillshare free trial last?
Skillshare’s free trial lasts a month, giving you the chance to take a number of classes from experts and celebrities including Emily Henderson, Kelis, Marques Brownlee and Jonathan Van Ness without paying a penny.
Which courses can I take?
Skillshare has courses in animation, creative writing, film & video, fine art, graphic design, illustration, music, photography, UI/UX design, web development business analytics, freelancing, entrepreneurship, leadership & management, marketing and productivity.
Does it have a student community?
Yes. Skillshare allows students to upload and share their own projects on the platform. Not only do I think this is great for community-building and self-improvement, I wonder whether some people have made friends or professional connections through the platform. If you shared a series of watercolour paintings you’d made, I wonder whether this could help you build your social media presence over time and build connections.
It’s possible to narrow down the type of student projects you see so that you’re only viewing ones that meet your interest. This can be a nice way to find new courses to take, particularly if you’re interested in coming away from the classes with something to show for it.
Skillshare vs Masterclass
Both provide a wholesome learning experience
I am a MasterClass fan girl. I like to plug my laptop into the TV, curl up on the sofa and watch the lessons on the big screen. Every time I take a MasterClass course, I feel like I’ve been invited into the home of one of the celebrity creators. They’ve made me a coffee, there’s a loaf of bread baking in the oven, and we’re sat in the kitchen talking about everything they’ve learned throughout their career. I know it’s sad but that’s my idea of heaven tbh. As you can see, Skillshare has big shoes to fill.
Thankfully, like Masterclass, Skillshare has plenty of high-end courses taught by famous celebrities. These videos have been professionally filmed and well-edited, meaning you feel like you’re watching a TV show instead of sitting in a stuffy lecture hall.
Skillshare has a mix of celebrity teachers and lesser known names
Although Masterclass focuses exclusively on high end courses and is extremely selective over who is allowed to contribute to the platform, Skillshare does have some lower budget courses created by lesser-known names. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing will depend on what you’re after. There’s a risk course creators might not be as qualified, but some of the lesser-known names provide more value than some celebrities, in my opinion.
Skillshare has more flexible payment options
At the time of writing, MasterClass is £14.17 a month but you have no choice but to pay for an annual membership. This gives Skillshare a huge advantage pricing-wise, as it’s far more flexible and affordable for those who can’t afford to drop £170 on the platform in one go.
Skillshare vs Udemy
Udemy charges for individual courses
While you pay a monthly or annual fee to access all courses on Skillshare, with Udemy you have to pay for each individual course instead.
Udemy seems to have much longer course content
I don’t have data to back this up but when comparing video length on Skillshare to video length on Udemy, it does seem like Udemy has much longer courses than Skillshare does.
If you’d rather invest in specific courses than have access to hundreds, Udemy might be the better option for you.
How are course values determined?
As someone who has taken many courses in my time and has been left disappointed on many occasions, I’m not a huge fan of Udemy’s pricing structure. Skillshare wins this one for me.
I like the fact that you don’t have to commit to anything on Skillshare and if you’re left feeling disappointed by a particular course, you can pick another one without losing any money.
Udemy’s courses are pretty much always on sale. While this may seem like a good thing, I personally feel some of the original prices are plucked out of thin air, rather than being determined by the actual value. When you compare the sales price to the ‘original’ price, it seems like a great deal. It’s clever marketing but in my opinion, this strategy just encourages people to impulse buy courses they later regret.
Some courses are available on both platforms
If you’re thinking of buying a course on Udemy, it’s worth checking to see if the same course is available on Skillshare first. At the time of writing, Josh George’s SEO Website Audit course is ‘on sale’ on Udemy for £14.99
(£59.99) but it looks like the exact same content is available on Skillshare too. You could take this course for free with the help of Skillshare’s free trial.
Skillshare vs YouTube
Online courses are often criticised for sharing information that can also be found on YouTube or blog posts for free. It’s true that far too many courses offer little to no value, but I do think paying for good online courses can have benefits that trawling through YouTube
Overall, the videos on Skillshare are
Skillshare is ad-free. YouTube isn’t
Unlike YouTube, you don’t have to put up with annoying adverts on Skillshare. If you’re easily distracted, you won’t need to worry about losing concentration every time an ad pops up midway through the video.
Skillshare restricts creators’ self-promo
Something that frustrates me about YouTube is the amount of promo you have to sit through before getting to the actual content you were looking for. I’m not knocking or judging YouTube creators here. I know they tell us to ‘like, share and subscribe’ for a reason. At the end of the day, they’re providing us with content we’re not paying for, so it’s important that we support our favourite creators and help them grow. But let’s be honest, from a truly selfish point of view, the promo can be annoying! If you want your teacher to cut to the chase and you like your lessons concise, Skillshare could have an advantage over YouTube.
Skillshare prohibits ‘dubious business schemes’ and promised outcomes
Skillshare’s community guidelines say that “uploading content that promotes dubious business schemes or promises a specific outcome to students” is prohibited. YouTube is rife with this type of content so this sounds promising. I hope that Skillshare is much stricter when it comes to multi-level marketing-type content than YouTube is.
But can you learn more through Skillshare?
I know that a lot of people have great success with YouTube. Many developers, videographers and SEOs consider themselves self-taught because rather than taking formal courses or classes, they’ve learned everything they know by watching endless YouTube videos for free.
If you’re already having great success with YouTube and you’ve got a knack for tracking down trustworthy creators who consistently offer you high-quality content, Skillshare might not be worth your time or money.
But if you’ve tried learning new skills on YouTube but feel frustrated by poor quality content and ads, Skillshare could be worth a free trial. You can always get a taste of it and decide whether to commit once your trial is up. Don’t forget to set an alarm or calendar notification so you don’t forget to cancel before it auto-renews.
Skillshare course examples
Josh George’s SEO audit course is worth taking if you have your own website and would like to improve your SEO without paying an expert to do it for you. I’m currently going through this process myself and found his recommendations really useful!
Josh Otusanya’s TikTok Skillshare course offers a great intro to TikTok for beginners. It was only 37 minutes long and personally, I think that’s enough! You don’t want to watch a 10-hour video teaching you how to TikTok. You want to spend half an hour watching what your teacher has to say, an hour or so completing the exercises, and the rest of your time making TikToks! Far too many people are packaging their TikTok knowledge into expensive and lengthy online courses when in reality, one of the best ways to learn how to do it is probably just getting stuck in and having the confidence to put stuff out there that isn’t perfect yet. In Otusanya’s Skillshare class, he quickly shows us how to come up with ideas, how he plans out each video script, and how he shoots and edits his content. I found his course really encouraging because I often watch TikTok influencers’ videos and assume they shoot this stuff on a whim. Josh’s course made me realise that for a lot of these influencers, this is something they spend a lot of time on.
I’ve been thinking of buying myself an iPad so I can start making my own digital illustrations, so Laci Jordan’s digital illustration Skillshare course was really interesting. Since I don’t have an iPad yet, I haven’t implemented any of Laci’s lessons just yet, but watching her illustration process was really helpful. I’m going to watch a few more illustration classes before deciding whether to go ahead and invest in an iPad. It’s a lot of money and I don’t want to buy something I won’t end up using!
Charley Clements’ ‘Fun With Faces’ illustration course was also really fun to watch. How impressive are the student projects below?!
My Skillshare review: Is Skillshare worth it?
I’ll wrap up this Skillshare review with my overall verdict. Personally, I think Skillshare is great for anyone who wants to learn new things but doesn’t want to fork out hundreds for one course which might not meet their expectations.
With many independent course creators refusing to offer refunds to dissatisfied customers, investing in online education can be risky. Skillshare takes a lot of the risk away, in my opinion. You can explore the platform for free, take a few courses, and decide if it’s right for you. Then, for a monthly fee, you can take as many courses as you like. You can dip in and out of them. You can abandon courses you’re not satisfied with. You can cancel at any time.
If you love self-improvement, enjoy taking courses for the sake of it or consider yourself an online course ‘addict’, Skillshare could help you get your fix without a hefty price tag.
You can’t take a couple of Skillshare courses and suddenly start charging a £2k a month retainer for SEO services, but I think Skillshare can also be a great launchpad for further learning. You might take one SEO class and then another and then another, creating your own website and gradually implementing the things you learn as time goes on.
If you already get your educational fix from YouTube and have no problem finding the type of content you want on there for free, Skillshare might not be right for you. If you’d like to give it a try, take the Skillshare free trial and take it from there.
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